Veteran rock stars Bono, Dave Stewart, and Joe Strummer have written a song in tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela. The track is titled "48864," in honor of the number Mandela wor

Veteran rock stars Bono, Dave Stewart, and Joe Strummer have written a song in tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela. The track is titled "48864," in honor of the number Mandela wore as a prisoner of the apartheid regime. The song will be performed by the three entertainers at a Feb. 2 AIDS benefit concert on South Africa's Robben Island, where Mandela was held prisoner for nearly two decades.

Mandela, 84, emerged from prison to become South Africa's first democratically elected president in 1994. He stepped down in 1999 and has since become a vocal activist in the fight against AIDS.

The song, which focuses on Mandela's courage in speaking out against apartheid, ends with the musicians defiantly chanting "48864," Stewart said yesterday (Dec. 19). Many artists "have responded to Mr. Mandela's call to arms on the issue of HIV-AIDS," said Stewart, who is serving as the Mandela SOS concert's musical director.

As previously reported, performers at the daylong event will include Queen, Macy Gray, Nelly Furtado, Shaggy, Jimmy Cliff, Johnny Clegg and Youssou N'Dour. Organizers said 2,500 tickets will be distributed to invited guests and those who win radio promotions.

A simultaneous concert will be held in a Cape Town stadium that can hold 30,000 people, said Ned O'Hanlon, the concert's executive producer. A large screen will show the Robben Island concert, and several of the musicians will play both venues. The concert will be broadcast live on the Internet, and TV rights to a two-hour concert special are being negotiated, he said. All proceeds will benefit AIDS and human rights charities.


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